Work began with the eastern cross-arm, a court formed by an end building and two wings in a group like the original one–Old East, South Building, and Old West–around the Old Well. There, the three structures were unadorned. The new middle building, Manning Hall, erected for the Law School, has a portico characteristic of the early Republican period and a three-staged tower, a mark of the Colonial period. The wing buildings, Saunders and Murphey, have their own richness with projecting end pavilions and panels containing windows and doors.
The western cross-arm, not built until several decades later, was for business, balancing law on the east (though library sciences has now taken law’s place in Manning Hall). The ‘chief space’—looking up the Mall towards South Building on the crest of the hill—had been marked out on John Nolen’s original plan for a gymnasium, but erected there instead was Wilson Library, named for acclaimed librarian Louis Round Wilson, which served as the University’s library for fifty years, until the construction of Davis Library, which accommodated the bulk of the circulating collection.
Adapted from John V. Allcott, The Campus at Chapel Hill: Two Hundred Years of Architecture (The Chapel Hill Historical Society, 1986)